30 July 1998
MPs expect ban on foxhunting in next session

MPs will expect to review a Government Bill outlawing fox hunting in the next session of parliament, the Prime Minister has warned.

Tony Blair made the announcement at Prime Ministers question time yesterday. Government ministers have just held a series of private meetings with animal rights campaigners to try and reach a compromise.

The Times reports that a favoured option is for local referendums on whether foxhunting should be banned on local authority land.

A debate is taking place as to whether to give local authorities the power to license or not license local hunts after referendums of all voters in the area.

Tony Blair said, in response to a question about foxhunting, that he recalled the “large majority” of MPs who had signalled their support for a ban. He said that Michael Fosters Bill to outlaw the sport had “failed through the actions of the opponents of the Bill, not the Government”.

The referendum deal is seen as compromise aimed at buying off opposition in the Lords. It would also placate Labours supporters in the countryside by not imposing a centralised ban on a traditional rural pursuit.

  • The Times 30/07/98 page 12